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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Re: Ruwart on child pornography

LifeMember, Susan is correct in pointing out that your question smuggles in an assumption that laws can protect children.  Don't give her that loophole, because she won't be embarrassed to take it.  The question you need to ask is: "Is it morally acceptable for a community to use a democratic process of majority (but not universal) assent to legislate a uniform rule embedding an assumption that the ability to give informed sexual consent is a function of age?"  [Prediction: Hogarth will claim not to understand the question.]  Ruwart and Hogarth will necessarily answer "no", because (as I understand it) they claim it is never morally acceptable for a community to legislate *anything* except by universal consensus.  Further, Hogarth believes (as far as I can tell) that the LP and its candidates should never claim that it is morally acceptable for a community to legislate anything -- even protection of life, liberty, and property -- except by universal consensus.
And if Susan says I've misunderstood her, then note carefully whether she actually clarifies what she thinks the LP and its candidates should be allowed to say about the ability of the community to legislate without universal consensus.
Bill, the current Platform cycle has all along been featuring discussions like this -- and even better ones. :-)  For the info I've been able to smuggle out of PlatCom's private discussions, see  Also, search at for phrases like
 Kuznets curves
 Duverger's Law
 abortion evictionism
 free rider problem
 club goods
 Tiebout sorting
 free variables in libertarian theory
 Euthyphro dilemma
 Pigovian taxes
 Nash-Cournot equilibrium
 Kaldor-Hicks efficiency
 moral hazard
 negative externalities
 natural monopoly
 Trolley Problem
 land value tax
 public choice theory
 Pareto optimality
 Prisoner's Dilemma
 Allais paradox
 Coase theorem
 asymmetric information
 Arrow's theorem
 Green tax shift
 corporate personhood
The 2008 Platform Committee has a pretty diverse and intelligent group of people on it, and I think that shows in the quality of the language we've sifted and rescued from a dozen past platforms.